For many individuals who experience debilitating back pain, surgery has always been a recommended treatment method. However, despite the safety of many surgeries, outcomes for a small percentage may still be unpredictable. Some patients who undergo back surgery may risk having failed back surgery syndrome.
Let’s talk about why you may still experience back pain after surgery.
Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS)
Back pain is one of the most common reasons why people missing work, school, or other activities and events. Chronic back pain can significantly affect a person’s quality of life. In cases where nonsurgical modalities are not effective anymore, patients may need to undergo surgery. However, back surgery may sometimes fail to provide the relief you are looking for.
Failed back surgery syndrome is a term coined to define unsuccessful surgeries, where patients experience persistent or new pain despite undergoing surgery. It is often addressed with a multidisciplinary approach, which includes pain medications, physical therapy, and procedures like spinal cord stimulation and injections.
Factors That May Contribute to FBSS
Pain that persists even after back surgery is challenging and difficult for both the patient and physician. Below are factors that can contribute to this.
Patient-Related Risk Factors
There are several factors regarding the patient’s overall well-being that may impact the outcome of back surgeries. Studies show that a patient’s psychosocial well-being has an effect on treatment outcomes.
Lifestyle choices such as drinking alcohol, drug use, and smoking also significantly affect the results of a patient’s back surgery. Health conditions such as obesity and other pre-existing illnesses also contribute to postoperative complications.
Operative Risk Factors
The number of previous surgeries performed can also significantly affect the outcome of back surgery. Likewise, FBSS may result from inadequate or excessive decompression during a laminectomy, in which there is an error with the level of decompression around the spinal nerves.
Another cause could be choosing the wrong surgical procedure for your condition. Every surgery can potentially introduce a segmental instability, resulting in more pain from misplaced implants or grafts.
Postoperative Risk Factors
Immediately after surgery, procedural complications may cause effects on surgery outcomes. This may include nerve injuries, spinal infections, or hematoma forming in the epidural space. The change in the biomechanics of your spine can also shift stress and change load distribution. This can speed up degeneration and eventually cause pain.
Pain relievers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed by your physician to quell the aching. Stronger medications can be highly addictive, so doctors often recommend taking them with caution and only for a short period.
Physical therapy can help you regain strength, flexibility, and mobility. It also improves your back muscles and joints through exercises and activities targeted at these parts. Your physical therapist can also teach you to move better, so you can avoid pain.
Spinal Cord Stimulation
The spinal cord stimulation is a minimally invasive treatment that is effective in relieving postoperative pain. The process involves the implantation of a device near your spine. This delivers electric impulses to your spinal cord to prevent pain signals from reaching your brain.
Nerve Blocks and Other Guided Injections
A nerve block is a guided injection that numbs the affected area. Like spinal cord stimulation, the injection blocks the pain signals before they reach the brain. It also relieves inflammation.
Guided epidural, facet joint, and sacroiliac joint injections can also help alleviate pain after back surgery. The specific injection needed is determined by the location of your pain.
Post-Surgical Back Pain Treatment in Melbourne, FL
Despite safety measures, some surgeries may still fail to address your back pain. Fortunately, there are many treatment methods that can address it.
Central Florida Spine & Pain is home to one of the leading pain management doctors in the country, Dr. Nicholas Giordano. Working hand-in-hand with him, our team is ready to assist you in managing any pain you may be suffering from, including postoperative back pain.
If you are experiencing pain after back surgery, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. For questions and concerns, you may call (321) 802-5021 or request an appointment online. We look forward to serving you!